Pg. 2-3 Recommend Cultural Practices and Research Priorities for Litchis in South Africa

There is evidence that the first litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn) trees were imported into South Africa from Mauritius in 1876, but there must have been earlier imports, as litchi trees had already been observed in Natal in 1875.

From Natal, trees spread to the Transvaal Lowveld region, as well as to other suitable frost-free areas. Some of the trees in the Lowveld are more than 100 years old and are still growing and producing crops of more than 500 kg/tree annually.

The most important litchi-producing areas are in the eastern subtropical parts of South Africa. This area is divided approximately 50:50 between the Letaba/Tzaneen area and the Nelspruit/Hazyview/Onderberg area. The total area under litchis is about 2 500 ha, but the industry is growing rapidly with an estimated 199 000 trees sold from nurseries during the 1990/91 season.

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